Water Narratives: Exploring the Convergence of the Canal du Midi and Its Coastal Landscape

I. Bobbink, A. Chouairi, P. Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Considering ‘infrastructures as landscapes’ and ‘landscapes as infrastructures’, this article uses an open framework to reconsider the distinctive water infrastructure of France’s UNESCO-listed heritage Canal du Midi. More specifically, it profiles the Canal’s Mediterranean outlet. Viewed through a landscape architectonic lens, we investigate the canal, drawing on the theory of landscape narrative and using the illustrative method. The article identifies three crucial narratives – infrastructural, natural & environmental and social & cultural – that help to examine the spatial values of the Canal and its relationship with its southern coastal landscape. The study shows how the Canal du Midi has been transformed and has influenced its surroundings, becoming an integral part of the coastal landscape. We identify and analyse how the Canal functions as an infrastructure composition and an environmentally and culturally significant feature. The landscape narrative framework offers the possibility of sharpening the interpretation of water infrastructures beyond conventional problem-solving approaches by providing a holistic view of the Canal and its water landscapes. This, in turn, offers inspiration for the region's future development, which presently prioritises the preservation of the Canal du Midi and the regeneration of the surrounding area as distinct projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-49
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • landscape infrastructure
  • illustrative method
  • landscape narrative
  • Canal du Midi
  • coastal landscape


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